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  • Writer's pictureProfiles in Catholicism

Reaching for the Resurrection. A Pastoral Bioethics

Reviewed by Dr Pravin Thevathasan Catholic Medical Quarterly

In the last few years, I have enjoyed reading the works of Francis Etheredge. He has the ability to communicate bioethical truths in a way that is interesting and easy to follow. This book is no exception.

For Christians, our bioethical reflections need to take place in the light of the Resurrection, says the author. Even in our deepest suffering, the Risen Christ is with us. It is Christ in his Sacred Passion who heralds his Resurrection. Our sufferings when united with those of Christ bring meaning to our afflictions. The author reflects on his own sufferings. It was the Holy Face of Jesus that brought meaning to his suffering.

Our transformation in Christ leads us to share in the Resurrection life even in this world. It is the Incarnation which allows us to live a life of intimacy with God. Only in this way can we ultimately make sense of our suffering.

We live in a post-Christian world that rejects the Incarnation. Life is thus made ultimately meaningless. Suffering is meaningless .Little wonder then that there is so much acceptance of abortion and euthanasia.

The author calls us to cherish life from fertilisation till natural death. He also reminds us that we are beings meant to live in relationship with each other and with God, who is perfect relationship. If we get rid of relationship from our lives, we become atomised individuals. And when atomised individuals feel they are a burden on society, they will request euthanasia.

I especially enjoyed reading the author's reflection on the difference between loneliness and aloneness. The lonely person is the one who is cut off from human relationships and from God. In contrast, the person who is alone is in relationship. Indeed, aloneness is needed for us to build the most important relationship of all, that with God. In our aloneness, we are called to reflect on God's Word. It is this aloneness that rids us of loneliness. I also found the discussion on conversion helpful. For a certain kind of Protestant, conversion is what happens at a given moment. For Catholics, conversion is a life-long process. Our conversion requires us to be humble and repentant.

In summary, a really useful series of reflections on some aspects of pastoral bioethics

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